Best Schools in Boston 2014

Now more than ever, our faith in data is driving how we think about education. This month we look at where the numbers can take us, what they tell us—and how they can fail us.

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Best Schools 2014

Our exclusive ranking of 65 area high schools.

Should I stay or should I go? That’s the question nearly all parents ask themselves at some point during the 15-plus years that their kids attend school. Sometimes the grass just looks greener at the public school in the next town over. And sometimes, it actually is greener. To complicate matters, the region has no dearth of private schools vying for your attention (and money). Boasting stratospheric SAT scores and country club–like campuses, they promise to shape your unruly teen into a polished Ivy League–bound young adult.

To help you address these potentially life-changing choices, we chased down and analyzed a dizzying array of data—test scores, student-to-teacher ratios, graduation rates—to produce proprietary rankings of both public and private high schools. We also explored the classic what if we moved dilemma by breaking down the relative costs of relocating to a “best school” town versus staying put and going the private school route.

Does the town next door truly offer better opportunities? Check out our charts to find out.

Top 50 Public Schools
See which schools top our ranking.

Public Schools Chart
Sort all public schools by test scores, graduation rate, and more.

September 12, 2014: After further investigation, we’re retracting the list of Private Schools and taking it offline. For more information, read our editor’s note.

September 9, 2014: We made four significant errors in the reporting and editing of our 2014 lists of Greater Boston’s best public and private schools. As a result, we have updated the rankings online, and will be publishing a corrected list of the top private schools in the October issue of Boston magazine. Please read our editor’s note regarding the changes.


— More —

Public vs. Private
Seven town vs. town comparisons to help you decide.

Alternative School Ranking
XKCD author Randall Munroe weighs in with his own list.



ed issue 2

How Tests Are Failing Our Schools

The newly elected president of the state’s teachers union wants to abolish our reliance on standardized test scores. And she’s not backing down.



ed issue 3

How to Game the College Rankings

Northeastern University executed one of the most dramatic turnarounds in higher education. Its recipe for success? A single-minded focus on just one list.


Methodology: We gathered the most recent available data at press time on public schools from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education ( Private school information was provided by those schools. We also consulted town and school websites if necessary. Statistician George Recck, the director of the Math Resource Center at Babson College, calculated the mean scores for each category, and then ranked the schools based on a weighted average of each school data point’s difference from the mean, using mean values when data was unavailable. Only public schools within the Greater Boston I-495 boundary were included.